Canadian Tax and
Financial Information
Investment Returns

Ads keep this website free for you. does not research or endorse any product or service appearing in ads on this site.  Before making a major financial decision you  should consult a qualified professional.

Looking for US tax information?

Need an accounting, tax or financial advisor? Look in our Directory.  Use above search box to easily find your topic!   Stay Connected with!

What's New
Personal Tax
Sales Taxes
Free in 30!
Financial Planning
Real Estate
Stocks Bonds etc.
British Columbia
Atlantic Provinces
Federal Budget
Provincial Budgets
Statistics etc.
Site Map
Advertise With Us
Contact Us/About Us
Links & Resources

Financial Planning   ->   Stocks, Bonds etc.   -> Investment Returns

Historical Investment Returns on Stocks, Bonds, T-Bills

The Canadian Consumer Price Index has been quite stable since 1992.  In the 30 years from 1963 to 1992, the average annual increase (inflation rate) was 5.7%.  During that time, there were 5 years where the inflation rate was over 10%, including 1981, when the rate was 12.4%.  1981 is also the year when Canadian 5 year mortgage rates were over 21% for a couple of months.  The average 5 year mortgage rate from 1963 to 1992 was 11.03%.

Historical before-tax returns on $1,000 invested in stock markets and other investments
to December 31, 2018

Type of Investment 1 year 5 years 10 years 20 years Since
Dec 31, 1979
39 years
50 years Since
Dec 31, 1949
69 years
Value Avg
Value Avg
Value Avg
Value Avg
Value Avg
Value Avg
Cdn 3 month T-bills 1.4% $1,014 0.8% $1,041 0.8% $1,081 2.1% $1,523 5.4% $7,694 5.7% $16,239 5.0% $28,739
Cdn Govt Bonds 1 to 3 year 2.0% 1,020 1.0% 1,053 1.2% 1,121 2.5% 1,649 5.7% 8,817 6.1% 19,412 5.5% 39,682
Cdn Govt Bonds over 10 years 2.3% 1,023 2.2% 1,114 2.7% 1,302 3.9% 2,129 6.8% 13,041 7.2% 31,695 6.4% 73,308
S&P/TSX (Cdn) Composite Total Return Index (formerly TSE300 Total Return) (3) -8.9% 911 4.1% 1,221 7.9% 2,145 6.6% 3,609 8.5% 23,698 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Nikkei 225 TRI © Nikkei Inc. in Cdn$ (2) -0.1% 999 10.6% 1,654 9.6% 2,499 3.0% 1,818 6.7% 12,330 n/a n/a n/a n/a
S&P 500 (US) Index in Cdn$ 4.0% 1,040 14.0% 1,928 14.3% 3,822 5.2% 2,745 11.8% 77,083 10.3% 135,819 11.6% 1,918,178
European stocks in Cdn$ -6.8% 932 5.1% 1,281 8.0% 2,150 3.3% 1,919 10.2% 44,147 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Emerging markets stocks in Cdn$ (1) -6.8% 932 7.2% 1,418 9.6% 2,493 8.4% 5,011 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Canadian Consumer Price Index All Items (4) 2.0% 1,020 1.7% 1,087 1.6% 1,177 1.9% 1,462 3.1% 3,335 4.0% 7,087 3.5% 10,948

Value is the value at the end of the period, of $1,000 Cdn invested at the beginning of the period.
n/a = not available

The column for returns since December 31, 1979 reflects the earliest data we have for the Nikkei 225 Index.

* Note that the average annual return on bonds is the average yield if the bonds are held to maturity.

(1)  For Emerging Markets, the earliest data that we have is December 31, 1987.  The average annual return in Canadian dollars for emerging markets for the 31 years from 1987 to 2018 is 10.5%.  $1,000 invested at the end of 1987 would have a value of $22,248 Canadian at the end of 2018.

(2)  The Nikkei 225 Total Return Index (TRI) year end factors in yen are used with the permission of Nikkei Inc. to calculate the above results.  Recent Nikkei year end factors are available on the Nikkei website.  The earliest data that we have is December 1979, when the Nikkei 225 TRI was started.  The average annual return in yen for the Nikkei 225 TRI for the 39 years from 1979 to 2018 is 4.1%.  1,000 yen invested at the end of 1979 would have a value of 4,836 yen at the end of 2018.

(3)  Some of the earlier S&P/TSX Composite Index Total Return data is from Libra Investment Management Inc., sourced from the Canadian Institute of Actuaries.  Data for recent years is available from Yahoo Finance.

(4)  The above table has now been updated with the Canadian Consumer Price Index from December 2018.

Exchange Rate and Above Returns

The change in the Canadian dollar has a significant effect on some of the above results.  As an example, see the following 1 year results in US$:

S&P 500 -4.4% $956
European stocks -14.3% 857
Emerging markets stocks    -14.2% 858

The 2018 1 year return for the Nikkei 225 TRI © Nikkei Inc. in yen is -10.3%.

Your Investment Returns

If you have brokerage statements which show your return for the past year for US$ accounts, please note that this will be the return on the US$ amounts, not the return when your investments are converted to Canadian dollars.  You can use our Investment Return Calculator to calculate your return in Cdn$, by converting the beginning balance, deposits and withdrawals, and ending balance to Cdn$ using the exchange rate in effect on each of those dates.

Other sources of data used to calculate the above returns:

Bank of Canada Rates and Statistics - Interest Rates for T-bills and bonds, Standard & Poor's, Statistics Canada Consumer Price Index, Yahoo, Morgan Stanley, UBC Pacific Exchange Rate Service.
The returns are the total returns with dividends or interest reinvested.
All values and returns are in Canadian $.

Taxation of Interest vs Dividends vs Capital Gains

The above table shows before-tax returns.  The big difference between the returns on the S&P 500 and bonds or T-bills becomes even bigger after tax.  The interest is 100% taxable every year.  Most of the return on the S&P 500 stocks would be capital gains, which is only 50% taxable, and is not taxable until the investment is sold.  The dividends from the S&P/TSX index stocks are normally eligible for the enhanced dividend tax credit for Canadian stocks, which results in a very low tax rate.  See our article on tax treatment of income from different types of investments.

See our Investment Income Tax Calculator which shows the big difference in taxes payable on different types of investment income

Recommended Stocks

See our article on recommended stocks for registered or non-registered accounts - these suggested portfolios are good for novice investors.

Tip:  Calculate your own investment returns using our Investment Return Calculator.

Revised: April 16, 2019


Copyright © 2002 Boat Harbour Investments Ltd. All Rights Reserved.  See Reproduction of information from

Facebook  | Twitter  |  Monthly Newsletter Sign-up  What’s New E-mail Notification RSS News Feed
The information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice.  Each person's situation differs, and a professional advisor can assist you in using the information on this web site to your best advantage. 
Please see our legal disclaimer regarding the use of information on our site, and our Privacy Policy regarding information that may be collected from visitors to our site.